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The flu but if it does come roaring back or is just around a vaccine may at least be far enough along to try to push forward with the testing NPR health correspondent rob Stein thanks so much you bet you're listening to a special report from NPR news covert nineteen what you need to know about coronavirus I'm Lucas in a viral stay with us this is a special report from NPR news covered nineteen what you need to know about coronavirus I'm Lucas Univar now we're going to look at the ways authorities around the world are responding to this pandemic the trump administration's handling of the crisis has been heavily criticized the president has given confusing advice contradicting his own experts and misleading the public about timelines for testing and vaccinations morning edition's Rachel Martin spoke to three of NPR's international correspondents about how other countries are handling the coronavirus Sylvia Julie is in Rome Anthony kun is in Seoul and and Lee Fang is in Beijing Emily I'm gonna start with you because you were covering the crisis in Wuhan from the beginning can you just give us a sense now about what was the trajectory of the Chinese response to this well for the first month after that initial cases of the current affairs sure there wasn't a response there is local cover up at the lake and during that time about five million people left the virus epicenter in like the spread it to the rest of China but then the country mobilized it did so very quickly imposed very stringent self isolation and quarantine measures and by self isolation I mean people sort of waiting densely populated areas they canceled all public events they shut down factories and offices and by quarantine measures and that the they still sealed off cities and villages completely Anthony how does what and we just say said compared to what's been happening in in South Korea while South Korea got hit right after China and because of south Korea's experience with previous epidemics they decided that rapid mass testing for the virus was going to be the key to their strategy and so they've been testing around fifteen thousand people a day S. three thousand six hundred people per million of population compared to five people per million in the US results also focus on transparency putting out daily statistics and press briefings Sylvia in Italy I mean now Italy is has replaced south Korea's the number two in the world after China when it comes to the the scope of of this pandemic what has been the Italian response drastic curbs on freedom of movement and there's been overwhelming compliance only food shops pharmacies in newsstands are open people can go out but if stopped by police they must show kind of affidavit that states the purpose either work grocery shopping health or emergency police are carrying out random checks they face either three months in jail or a fine of two hundred thirty dollars the purposes social distancing keep people apart Italy's following China's lead the Wuhan model so Emily the Wuhan model hasn't worked I mean transmission has decreased there has not yet been experts pretty much unanimously agreed that's because of social distancing it will destroy your economy as it temporarily has in China but it quickly slows the virus's spread another thing China did was it built these makeshift centers where they sent six people and sending instead of sending them home and researchers in both the US and China have now said this week that that was critical to slowing down the outbreak but this could be a measure that western democracies may be unwilling to take as for quarantine measures of sealing off religious and cities that's the jury's still out on the efficacy of of that because quarantines made it harder for medical medical resources to reach heart the hardest hit areas and that's will the wife you tell the rates in the epicenter in China are nearly four times higher than the rest of the country so Sylvia how have the measures worked in Italy what's the situation right now is there any slowing well nationwide it's too early to say it hasn't hit the peak yet the quarantine that was put in place a few weeks ago in the contagion epicenter in Lombardy eleven pounds fifty thousand people local authorities say it's working the contagion rate has dropped and that's why the quarantine was extended to all of Italy to try to prevent a spread to the south which has much weaker health systems than those of the north which were among the best in Europe but they are severely strained by this crisis now I'm Anthony South Korea chose not to take measures like we've seen in Italy or in China with these dramatic quarantines are lockdowns and yet it seems like the have still been able to to keep the crisis at bay right yeah well takes numbers have been declining for two weeks in a row and sexualities of been at less than one percent compared to about four percent for China and six percent for Italy and you know doing this without having to log huge regions down is also a kind of effectiveness kind of accuracy was or something specifically about South Korea that made it possible for them to avoid large scale large scale quarantines well it's you know testing capacity is not just about cats it's about investment in basic healthcare infrastructure lab technicians chemicals machines logistics and if any one of those areas has a bottleneck it's going to mess things up and people are gonna lose lives and it's just you know at the end of the day it's investments in the healthcare system hospital beds you know national health insurance and this shows up in survivability for all diseases including covert nineteen and lastly Emily and Sylvia I'd love for you to talk some about how the different political systems in China and Italy have affected the coronavirus responsibly you alluded to this earlier but really how much of China's success in mitigating the spread has to do with the fact that this is this is a country frankly with a long history of human rights abuses it is an authoritarian state we've seen transparency is critical for a fast response that wasn't present in China but because China is a very centralized government one might say authoritarian it was able to mobilize quarantine measures and self social distancing very very quickly the problem is quarantines may have cost more lives and you know but we'll never know the secondary costs of people who are not able to get timely medical care and suffered from it because they were sealed into their villages or cities right and still be obviously Italy is a democracy what is been just the people's response to these kinds of drastic measures the crisis has totally turned the world upside down Italians notorious for cutting into line not very of beaten to rules are become the most compliant people I've ever seen in my life and French correspondents based here sent a petition to French president Emmanuel MacColl telling him friends underestimates the gravity of the epidemic and failed to prepare French public opinion they say look at Italy it's our duty to tell you there's no time to lose and here's Sylvia patrolling Anthony kun and Emily Feng talking with rich mark fears about the impact of coronavirus have sparked a financial crisis in the markets Austin Goolsby who chaired president Barack Obama's council of economic advisers says that as the virus spreads American markets might be hit even harder than China's and here's our Shapiro asked him why if you look at the economy of the United States or of the rich countries in Europe they're much more dominated by these face to face services that are exactly the things they get pulled down whether their leisure and entertainment and sports or going to the gym or all sorts of services so if everyone stops doing that that's a bigger hit on the U. S. economy even that it was in China we went when they shut down and you've also said that virus economics are different from regular economics explain what you mean by that yeah by that I mean the closest thing in our in our collective memories to this moment was a financial crisis right into my house I natural crisis economics and business cycle economics is a little different than the virus in that the main thing that is paralyzing the economy is this year and withdrawal and so in a way the best thing you can do for the economy has nothing to do with the economy with virus economics and that is things like paid leave for people that are sick is actually not stimulus it's paying people not to come to work but anything that slows the rate of spread of the virus is the best kind of stimulus so if we have to get on top of this as a public health matter I think before you can effectively deal with this as an economic except if we do so the rate of the virus and this epidemic continues for weeks or months is there anyway to turn around the financial slide yes and no no in that look if there's going to be a substantial slowdown our goal is and should be allowing us the opportunity to bounce back as this thing passes over us and that means you can't let everybody go bankrupt or starve or have these persistent lasting problems from what we hope to be temporary shock and so do you see the crunch that we're experiencing now as an irrational panic or an appropriate response to the cancellation of big economic engines like pro sports like Broadway live it like school like the economic activity that goes on in major cities every day yeah a bit of both as we in fear withdrawn have social distancing to try to slow the virus there is going to be a substantial slowdown of economic activity right but I can never get out of my head from the two thousand eight crisis Paul Volcker's words over and over at that time that during a crisis the only asset you have is your credibility and as the U. S. government has not made credible statements that contributes to fear that makes it go down and we've we've got to do better we need the president to succeed here that was NPR's ari Shapiro talking with Austin Goolsby who chaired president Barack Obama's council economic advisers a look now at the impact of coronavirus on our education system research shows that closing schools proactively can slow down the spread of the disease over ten thousand American schools are now either closed or have announced that they will be closing but as NPR's Cory Turner reports making the decision to shutter school isn't easy Nicholas Kristoff says his Yale University lab has always been about studying one word we study how germs spread we study how ideas spread we study how behavior spread Christos wrote the best seller blue print the evolutionary origins of a good society and his lab is now studying how corona virus might spread he says closing schools is one of the most effective things a community can do to slow it down and it's better he says for school leaders not to wait until a student or staff member actually get sick it's sort of closing the barn door after the cow is gone if you wait for the case to occur stock is points to studies of the nineteen eighteen Spanish flu he says cities that were quick to close their schools then saved lives closing the schools before anyone in the schools is sick is a very difficult thing to do even though it's probably extremely beneficial and much wiser school leaders say it's very difficult because so many kids get so much from their schools are a large number of our students the safest place for them to be is actually in school so when you're Santa leases is the CEO of Baltimore city public schools she says if she has to cancel school many parents won't be able to take off work so children could be heading home to empty household not to worry all over the country yeah I think that's honestly the hardest contemplation for our district Chris raked all is superintendent of public instruction for Washington state which has been hit hard by corona virus just send you know a million Washington kids home knowing that for hundreds of thousands of them are they simply will not have any parents at home not only won't there be parents at home there might not be lunch either food in security is a real challenge in our community even without an emergency Alberto Carvallo heads Miami Dade County public schools and he says roughly three quarters of his students live at or below the poverty line these kids not only depend on schools for lunch they also get free breakfast free snacks and many he.

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